Why Your Online Business Needs a Physical Office and How to Set One Up

09-27-2017   One of the important decisions new owners of online businesses often wrestle with is whether or not to set up a physical office. We didn’t do it, and have shown satisfactory results since 2003.  But the jury is out, and who knows what the success level of this venture might have seen if we had started with a physical office, as some of our best friends and advisors told us to do.

The reasons against a physical office are fairly obvious — the expense of rent, utilities, equipment, etc. — and for some startups with very limited budgets, this might be enough to sway them to remain completely virtual. However, there are both tangible and intangible benefits to a brick-and-mortar office that very often outweigh the monetary costs. Here are four reasons why a physical office is a good idea for your virtual business and how to set one up.

The Why

1. Legitimacy

A physical office adds a level of legitimacy for clients and employees, says Forbes.  It probably depends much on what type of business you anticipate operating. An investment in a dedicated workspace shows potential clients and employees that you have invested in your business, which will encourage them to do the same.

2. Meeting space

While there are many tools for remote workers and virtual meetings, there are times when there is no substitution for in-person interaction. Research by Loughborough University School of Business and Economics showed that face-to-face meetings are the preferred method of communication for 97 percent of people and for good reason: in-person meetings allow your brain to interpret nonverbal messages and get more information from the interaction than you would otherwise.

3. Company culture

One of the keys to any business’ success is a healthy company culture, which is much easier to build and shape in a physical office. Whether your employees work in the office full-time or part-time, having a space where they can interact will help with forming genuine relationships and aid in collaboration.

4. Employee accountability

The truth is, no matter how much trust you have in your employees, it is much easier to hold them accountable if they are in the same space.

The How

If you’ve decided that a physical office is the right fit for your business, here are four things to consider:

1. Location

Your first consideration is where you want your office to be. Is there a location that would be most convenient for potential clients and attractive to employees?

2. Size

What are your office space needs? How many employees do you anticipate working in-house?

2. Equipment and furniture

Before you start buying, make a list of everything you think you’ll need and then visit the offices of a few similarly sized companies to see what you’ve missed. Check out the website The Balance for a sample list of office equipment and ideas for where to find things at affordable prices.

3. Office configuration

Decide on how you’d like your office configured. Will you have an open floor-plan, closed offices or modular workstations? Do you have a dedicated conference room for meetings? To get an idea of what will work best in your space, use a blueprint software like Edraw or SmartDraw.

4. Security

Once you have your office set up, the next step is to think about security. Install security cameras both inside and outside the office as a way to protect your equipment investment, deter break-ins, help employees adhere to company policy, avoid employee theft and allow you to monitor the office remotely. Lorex makes a variety of reliable, high quality surveillance cameras for office security.

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